The Maine Crafts Association (MCA) will open MAINE CRAFT PORTLAND, a retail gallery and resource center in the historic Maine Charitable Mechanic Association (MCMA) building, known as Mechanic’s Hall, in downtown Portland, Maine this summer! The new MCA space will promote craft in Maine through exhibitions and public programming, and directly benefit Maine craft artists through sales of their work.

Mechanic’s Hall, in the vibrant Arts District—across the street from Maine College of Art, blocks from the Portland Museum of Art, and home to an art supply store—is only made more ideal by the fact that the Mechanic’s mission dovetails with ours. MCMA programs and events will strengthen our efforts and income opportunities. Additionally, as a building tenant, MCA will have access to the Mechanic’s Hall library, ballroom and classroom spaces.

HISTORICAL BUILDING MEETS MODERN MAKERS MOVEMENT

The MCMA building was completed in 1859 and is on the National Historic Register. It served as Portland City Hall after the infamous city-wide fire of 1866. It also housed and served meals to Union troops during the Civil War. An entire wall of historical, floor-to-ceiling hardwood and glass cabinets will be a beautiful feature in the MCA retail space. Thankfully, the building’s historical preservation status has protected the cabinets through the various tenants and uses of the space.  The cabinets will become a dominant display and aesthetic component of the MCA space. They were built in the late 1800’s for a jewelry retailer and now offer an exciting design challenge to incorporate with contemporary craft displays.

TIMELINE

The Mechanic’s Hall retail space became available in January 2018. The MCA began a fundraising campaign in February to fund the project and signed the lease in April. The next couple months will be spent renovating the space, hiring staff, ordering inventory and preparing for grand opening this summer!

The project is guided by the MCA strategic plan implemented in January 2017. Desired location, income potential and landlord have been carefully researched, considered and nurtured by the MCA Executive Director and Board of Directors.

EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS

Since 2008 the MCA has operated the Center for Maine Craft, a retail gallery and resource space in West Gardiner, Maine. The Center grosses close to $600,000 annually by exhibiting and selling the work of 315+ Maine craft artists and makers. The experience managing this successful and impactful Center positions the MCA for success in our second location.

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN NEARS COMPLETION

The MCA is raising $100,000 start-up capital to open the new space. On February 15, the Windgate Foundation announced a matching grant of $50,000. The MCA has received contributions totaling $45,000 from our amazing and supportive network of board members, arts supporters, foundations, Portland businesses, MCA members, friends and family. We currently seeking $5,000 to complete the fundraising phase of this exciting new effort!

MAINE CRAFT PORTLAND WAS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THESE GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS: THANK YOU

Windgate Foundation | Betterment Foundation | Toodie & Gary Gulden | Susan Morris & Chip Newell | Judy Glickman Lauder | Mimi Dunn | Richard & Mary Howe | Jim Brady | Carole & Alex Chanler | Sadie Bliss & Laughlin Chanler | Joan Sorensen | Kerry Grantham | Lynn Thompson | Tyler & Kat Gulden | Samuel A. Shaw | Sue Bralove | Wendy & Jeff Laidlaw | Adrienne Paiewonsky | Sandra Henderson | Dick Spencer | Christian & Peg Becksvoort | Clair Sandford | David & Clemmer Monague | Mary Campbell | Robert Diamante | Sallie Findley | Lisa Evans | Joyce Wethington-Knight | Lissa Hunter | Lynn Kneedler | Ayumi Horie | Kim Reid | Tim Christensen | Barbara Hopkins | Deborah Weiss | Joyce Schwaller | Alison Thibault | Peter Mills | Ebenezer Akakpo | Frank Carr | Kari Radasch & Ian Anderson | Karen Gola | Alan Bradstreet | Douglas Wilson | Gayle J. Fraas | Michele Michael| | Jake Hanin | Susan Horowitz | Carole Ann Fer | Caleb Johnson Studio | Tim McCreight | John McVeigh | Lynn Duryea | Kris Lape | Mark Bell | Andy Verzosa

FOR ARTISTS: SELLING YOUR WORK AT MAINE CRAFT PORTLAND

All work represented at the new space will be made by current MCA members living in Maine. The MCA expects approximately 70% of the vendors to be different from our vendors at the Center for Maine Craft. Inventory will be sold on both a consignment and wholesale basis. Inventory mix and orders will be coordinated by the new store manager beginning in April. There will not be a jury process for the first phase of ordering; but, once we have our feet under us a jury process will commence to attract and identify new vendors. To express your interest in having your work carried at Maine Craft Portland please fill out the online form.

MAINE CRAFT PORTLAND JOB OPENINGS

The MCA is currently seeking a Maine Craft Portland Retail Gallery Manager to start immediately, supporting the start-up phase and managing the retail gallery once it is open.

Qualifications:
An effective, friendly, detail oriented, professional with experience managing a team in a retail, gallery, non-profit or other arts setting. The successful candidate will demonstrate his or her ability to lead projects & people, have a good eye, a strong work ethic and be motivated to develop this new MCA space into a highly successful and well-regarded member of the arts district.

There will also be openings for part-time sales associates.

MAINE CHARITABLE MECHANIC ASSOCIATION

The Maine Charitable Mechanic Association was founded in 1815 as a social organization that promoted and supported the skilled trades—blacksmiths, coopers, carpenters, and more—and their practitioners. Its original members were master craftspeople and entrepreneurs and their apprentices. Today MCMA works to connect that history to the modern makers movement by providing social support and a place for knowledge sharing, particularly from the older generation to the younger generation.

The MCMA currently supports makers, members and the public with educational and other programming, and access to its historical library, ballroom and classrooms.

MAINE CRAFTS ASSOCIATION

MISSION: The Maine Crafts Association supports craft artists by providing educational, marketing and retail opportunities.

VISION: The Maine Crafts Association acts to strengthen individual craft artists, Maine communities, local economies, and the visitor experience by making Maine a national crafts destination.

MCA programming and events build community and enrich the lives of Mainers; this is achieved by connecting artists with the public, contributing to a creative and entrepreneurial Maine culture, and creating channels for artists to grow their business reach and increase their economic status. MCA has been steadfast in its advocacy for Maine craft artists and now provides professional support and opportunities for roughly 500 established and emerging artist members, as well as additional artists and outsiders who participate as non-members. MCA programs focus on providing opportunities in marketing and exhibitions, sales, business development, creative/artistic development, public education, peer networking and mentoring and professional branding. MCA’s reach and impact are enriched through varied and strong partnerships with institutions, businesses and organizations throughout Maine and nationally. MCA does not support one single demographic, but our efforts directly and indirectly support small businesses owned by women, new Mainers, minorities, low income individuals, emerging artists and other artists representing various sub sections of the population.

MCA’s budget derives from a combination of retail sales, exhibition sales, memberships fees, individual and corporate contributions, grants and program fees.